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Vigil planned for orca’s 50 years in captivity

Supporters in 2018 lay hands on a totem pole, created by Lummi Nation artist Jewell James, that depicts Tokitae. (Courtesy photo)

Events will be held Aug. 8 to mark 50 years – to the day – since the capture of an orca off the northwestern U.S. coast.

The orca is known as Lolita to visitors at Miami Seaquarium, where it has been kept in a tank since 1970, but it is known as Tokitae and Sk’aliCh’elh to the Lummi Nation of northern Washington state. For years, the tribe, animal rights organizations and politicians, among others, have urged the owners of the seaquarium to release the orca back to the Puget Sound, its ancestral waters.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)  is scheduled to hold a vigil in the Brickell section of downtown Miami at 12 p.m. on Aug. 8, 2020. The vigil at the intersection of 1221 Brickell Ave. and S.E. 12th Terrace is slated to include model Natasha Araos and actor and Miss Universe 1996 Alicia Machado. Organizers said the vigil will feature a giant inflatable orca trapped in a fishbowl. For more information, contact David Perle at (954) 464-6553 or DavidP@peta.org.

Online, a virtual event will be hosted by the organizations Empty the Tanks and the Dolphin Project from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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